Here is a “crisis” in education that gets very IMG_1234little media or administrative attention because teachers are non-entities who provide fodder for the teacher bashing tongues.

Teachers are abused by politicians, administrators, parents and students among others. During the day, school buildings are like day-jails for teachers. BreaktimeThey arrive in the morning and any administrator, parent or student can dish out the torment.

Politicians first: On the way to work, any teacher brave enough to listen to the news or read the newspapers will find the governor evaluating them and other elected officials berating , chastising them for the low standard of American education. Every ill, every wrong in education is the teachers’ fault. These half-wit, ignorant politicians who can’t teach a class to save their lives, who presume to write failing education policies and develop unrealistic standards with Pearson’s help turn around and blame teachers. Go get a life politicians and let teachers write policy and develop standards.

desksAdministrators abuse teachers. When they like teachers, those teachers can do no wrong. Tenure is assured; they become master teachers, highly effective ratings, and funds to match their superlative skills. When administrators hate teachers, God help them and tenure is their paycheck. Grade fixing – highly prevalent in schools – is also abuse. When teachers refuse to pass 95% of students with grades in the 85-99 percentiles, they are bad teachers.

mindParents want their kids to pass with high grades, but take no responsibility for their attendance, homework, or sleeping in class. However, they have no problems showing up in school, insulting the teacher and blaming her for the child’s failure. A brief meeting between the parent and the AP would result in a passing / higher grade for ignorant little Andy.

sZVNBOmcStudents abuse teachers daily. They steal teachers’ stuff. They mock and curse teachers. They cheat on tests. Students have “deans” in schools to protect them and parents at home to defend them. They are taught at an early age not to take responsibility for their education and by extension their future. They learn the blame game early in life.

Teacher abuse is real. It is in the governor’s office; it is in every politician’s office; school administrators have given teacher abuse an art form; and parents and students know how to play the grade fixing games.balloon-boy

Who can remember a favorite governor, or a favorite doctor, or a favorite police officer, or a favorite school administrator? But almost everyone can remember a favorite teacher!

 

 

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Teachers – older and experienced – wholiterature graduated in the 60s, 70s and perhaps the 80s, had the knowledge and ability to have a conversation and discuss history, science, literature, philosophy and almost any academic subject, plus world affairs and politics.

They can also walk into a classroom and teach and dispense that knowledge as easily as they can discuss it.mathematics In the teachers’ room, in the teachers’ cafeteria, it is a joy to “run into” one of these educated teachers and have an enjoyable, informative forty minutes of enlightenment.

Teachers – young and ambitious, inexperienced and poorly educated – who graduated in the 90s and after and who are now returning as teachers do not have that solid academic foundation that used to be the norm for high school and college graduates.

Most high school graduates in the past twenty-five years have “suffered” through a watered down deskscurriculum, know very little about literature, science, history, can hardly write a paper or do math and certainly know very little about world affairs.

These ignorant high school and college graduates are now returning as high school teachers. They also want to be administrators and quickly get an AP license.

To prepare lessons, they quickly download what ever they can find on the internet.

helpConversation with three young teachers revealed the following: (1) One teacher had a student in her class from Kosovo. She did not know where Kosovo was. (2) One second year English teacher had to teach Hamlet, but complained that she had no idea what to do with poor Hamlet. (3) One teacher was told to teach a book, but did not know which book to choose because she had not read any of the books on the list.

One last thing: We are importing teachers. Can you imagine booksimporting a Spanish teacher? The administrators liked him so much he made AP within five years.

Between teacher evaluation, cheap labour, and teachers who are unqualified (lack of knowledge in the subject area) education in New York and the US as a whole will get much worse.

These are tales from the school building recorded by an experienced teacher.

 

 

 

There are many reasons why the proposed methodsschool bus of teacher evaluation won’t work. Here are a few.

  1. Teacher evaluation is subjective. If the administrators in a school like a teacher then that teacher is an effective / highly effective teacher. If they hate your guts your fail the test. That simple!
  2. If administrators want to get rid ofwords older / experienced / expensive teachers and bring in young / cheap / newly qualified teachers, that is a reason for failure. Cheap labour is the key word here. (No offence is meant to inexperienced teachers.)
  3. Test, test, test! Very little teaching, but lots of testing. One teacher documented 65 testing and out-of-classroomschool closed days out of 180 teaching days.* Just think of it! That is 35% of 180 days spent testing and wasting student-teacher time.
  4. Grade fixing! The first time I was asked to “fix a student’s grade” was in 1992. The coach wanted this failing kid on the baseball team. I refused! Someone did change his grade because he did play on the team. Between 1999 and 2011 I was constantly in the administrators’ offices for my students’ low grades on English tests. They minddid not care that my students could not write a grammatically correct sentence in English. What they cared about was that the school should look good and continue as an “A” school. Do you know how many illiterate students in my classes received grades of 85 or 90? What I was doing was sinful, so I retired.

The point is – not teachers – but administrators and politicians do not care about educating our children. smudge-chalk-girlsAs long as they are passing with high grades that is all that matters. Teacher evaluation is allowing politicians to hide behind the problem.

An American college graduate (4 years) has the same education (knowledge?) as a high school graduate in Japan or Finland. Check the facts! What’s wrong with this picture? sZVNBOmc

So Mr. Governor, your present proposal is a waste of time and it is the students who are paying the price. For the world super-power we have the most ignorant high school graduates.

Unless you begin to do something about it they will continue to be ignorant graduates!

*The Other Side of Teaching

 

 

Save Black Men From the Law

December 6, 2013

Institutional Racism

A Japanese cell phone with various stickers an...

A Japanese cell phone with various stickers and charms attached to it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Innate Prejudice
Cultivated Hate

Every Black man should carry a lawyers phone number with him at all times. He has a cell phone, one hopes, and that phone number could be his passport to live outside the walls of earthly perdition, unholy purgatory, or even modern slavery which is jail time.

There is a certain parkway where I live, and every time I travel that route every few miles some one is getting a ticket. Nine out of ten times the person is Black or some other minority.

This week I was on that parkway and a Black chap was standing outside his old beat up car, hands up in the air, one cop standing in front of him and one cop searching his car. The trunk was also open.

I was a passenger in our car, all vehicles slowed down because of police activity, so I had a good view of the proceedings. That is when it occurred to me, that all these dark people can’t be guilty all the time and they need to have

Black cat

Black cat (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

some form of protection from these random stop and search as well as knowing their rights. When police stop minorities do they have any rights?

(I have the most beautiful black cat. His name is Star.)

So how do they protect themselves? When they are stopped for no apparent reasons, or for what ever reasons, they should whip out their cell phones and lawyer’s phone number (perhaps ACLU or Legal Aid) and report this police stop and search at once. How else can they be saved from these skin colour stops?

Police harassment and intimidation of minorities is not about to stop. It seems to be getting worse.

Institutional racism is deeply engraved in the psyche of the people who uphold the law. That innate prejudice that if you are dark you must be a criminal, or if you are Muslim or wear a turban you must be a terrorist, or if you are Black and wear fancy clothes or drive fancy cars you must be a drug dealer will be around for a long time. It has been festering for hundreds of years in our equal society!

American Civil Liberties Union

American Civil Liberties Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So we must find ways to fight institutional racism, innate prejudice, and home-grown cultivated hate.

All these people can’t be breaking the law. Some thing is wrong here.

So Black people: carry a lawyer’s phone number or carry ACLU phone numbers.              What a society we live in!

 

The Dark Side of Teaching

December 5, 2013

A teachers' room at Onizuka Middle School in K...

A teachers’ room at Onizuka Middle School in Karatsu, Saga, Japan. In Japanese schools, classes of students usually stay in one place and teachers go around from room to room each period. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah! You didn’t think there was a Dark Side to Teaching, did you? Well, here it is:

Teachers are murdered almost every week now – in their workplace – in their schools – this is the new norm, the new trend in education.

That’s not only dark, it is pretty final.

Here are some other dark spots they face during the day. Student violence against teachers is a daily occurrence. It includes student verbal and physical abuse and stealing teachers’ stuff. Parental abuse includes face to face verbal abuse, dirty e-mails and letters of complaint. One parent asked the AP to put her daughter in another English class after looking at me and deciding that – because of my colour – I would not be a good English teacher for her child.

Administrators, principals and assistant principals (APES) abuse, humiliate, embarrass, and harass teachers without respect and without apology. For example, at “My School” APES have been known to yell at teachers in hallways, walk into class rooms and in front of students yell at teachers.

For example, one day a student cursed me out in the class room. I called for the dean to remove him. The AP arrived and instead of

English: Educational Games, Worksheets & Homew...

English: Educational Games, Worksheets & Homework Help for Kids, Parents and Teachers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

escorting the student out, she yelled at me for having “class room management problems” and left the gloating student to further humiliate me. The student said, “You see, your AP is scared or me, but she hates you.”

And then, there is grade inflation. Administrators have no problems calling in teachers into their offices with grade books instructing them how to change grades, pass all those present with high grades, and so on, and so forth.

One AP offered to show me how to calculate grades for students I was teaching. I teach the class, she calculates the grades.

What a wonderful system!

Who ever think that teachers are in control – well, think again? Who ever think that it is the teachers fault – well, do an investigation of the top-down hierarchy of the corrupt system.

Teachers get abuse from students, parents, APES, principals, the media and politicians.

Student teacher in China teaching children Eng...

Student teacher in China teaching children English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And no one thinks of the work load she takes home in the evening, on the weekends, and during school holidays. For no overtime pay. She is not complaining, mind you! Just stating facts!

Yes, in the 21st Century there is a very dark side to teaching. Just ask a teacher. And we wonder why the American students are lagging behind on the world stage.

Check out The Other Side of Teaching. It documents all the facts the public in unaware of.

Everyone and his grand mum, especially the newspapers and the politicians, beat up on teachers. This is their daily chore! According to them teachers are stupid, unqualified, incompetent, too senior, and even over-paid.

"Teacher Appreciation" featured phot...

“Teacher Appreciation” featured photo. Place unknown. Probably a Kindergarten or Special Education teacher insturcting a student. According to the US Census Bureau Facts for Features, as of 2004, there were 6.2 million teachers in the US and the 71% of which were women. The national average for annual salary for public elementary and secondary school teachers was $44,700; With the highest average of $54,300 in California and the lowest of $31,300 in South Dakota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Has The Times and the politicians ever taken into consideration that these stupid, unqualified, incompetent teachers are the same people who become assistant principals (APES), principals, and administrators in our school system? Has anyone ever questioned the qualification and intelligence of the top-down hierarchy that runs the school system?

There is a saying in school that when you can’t handle the classroom you become an AP.

Here are a few examples of AP intelligence, qualification, incompetence and stupidity:

I.                   AP Macaroni observed my class. He asked me to explain what I was doing. I told him that it was a Regents Prep class and I was teaching my students how to analyze and critique a piece of literature; how to think critically. He calmly announced that you are not there to teach them to think critically. You are there to get them to pass your class.

 II.                I suggested to AP Macaroni that we should start a writing program in our school, that we have many students who would benefit from such a program. AP Mac said that in this school we teach whole language. End of discussion.

III.             AP Fatso – who was AP Mac’s bosom buddy (inseparable) – slipped into his seat when he retired. At her first meeting she announced that she would maintain the status quo; that she would continue to use Mr. Mac’s agenda. Her reason? If it worked for him, it will work for her!

English: Diagram of technology-empowered profe...

English: Diagram of technology-empowered professional development for teachers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IV.              For Professional Development days AP Fatso sent her department to the museums – any museum they chose to go to. After the visit the teachers wrote a lesson plan, incorporated some aspect of the visit, submit it to her, and that was our professional development. This went on for three years.

 V.                AP Destroy was known as the yeller. She would yell at teachers in the hallway, the classroom, her office. I was teaching out of license and sent to her department. I asked her for department guidelines since I was teaching out and license and new to her department. She yelled at me – in the hallway- that you have been teaching longer than me, you have more experience than me, you should know what to do.

VI.        Another time I chose a book for my class and I asked AP Destroy for her opinion. She again yelled at me – in her office this time – that you are more educated than me; you shouldn’t ask me these questions.

These are the ass-kissers I worked under. Don’t get me started on AP Gasbag.

For more APES intelligence, qualification, incompetence and stupidity, please refer to The Other Side of Teaching. More of their stories are documented in that book.

We know how teachers get their jobs. How do APES and principals get their jobs?

When the press – The Times – politicians and other teacher bashers torture teachers, they are looking at the problem with a jaundiced view. Most of the time the press and the politicians have no idea what they are talking about.

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Instead of harassing and torturing teachers The Times should ask principals, APES and administrators what their qualifications are for their jobs and how they got their jobs.

Teach Then Test

October 17, 2013

Teaching and Testing
(Excerpt from The Other Side of Teaching)

In any academic institution, we have to teach before we test, right? At university, we have a mid-term and a final per subject, per semester. In most foreign countries, tests are given twice per year and there is the national test for all students. Why, then, do New York City public schools have weekly/bi-weekly, quarterly, and semi-annual tests among many others in every subject in high school?

Let us look at the number of days spent teaching in an academic year and compare it to the number of days spent teaching:

State mandated number of days schools are opened in NYC in an academic year: 180

I. Test days per academic year:
• 3 tests per marking period x 6 marking periods = 18 tests per subject
• 2 mid-terms and 2 final exams = 4 tests per subject
• Regents in January = 5 days
• Regents in June = 10 days
• PSAT and review (not all students) = 2 days
• AP test (not all students) = 2 days
• NYSELLAT (immigrants) = 5 days

Total = 46 test days per year

II. Non-teaching days / Mandatory teacher time off:
• Staff Development days per year = 5
• Parent Teacher Conferences (two Fridays) = 2
Total = 7

III. Miscellaneous:
• Teacher out sick = 5
• Students out sick/cut class/see guidance counselor/minimum = 5
• Students absent on snow days = 2
Total = 12

Teaching and Learning Days:
School days per year are: 180
Minus #1 Above 46
Minus #2 Above 7
Minus #3 Above 12
Total = 65

Total number of actual teaching/learning days are: 115

According to these numbers, of the 180 days on the academic calendar, actual teaching days are approximately 115. Take another few days off for review, book collection, disruptive students, fire drills, etc., and we are down to 110 days. The hard cold fact here is that we teach approximately 60 percent of the time and test or waste 40 percent of the time. We have to do better than this.

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